Naked Awards

Making a Wine of the Year

Naked’s wine-led competition, Wine of the Year, kicks off again this summer. Here’s how we selected 2023’s nominees!

We did the hard part – narrowing the list to 47 candidates. Here’s a quick look at the “WOTY” selection process.

It’s like the Oscars for winemakers – and you’re the academy! Wine of the Year is a way to recognize the top-performing, highest-rated, and most beloved wine projects available at Naked – and it’s back for its second year in 2023. 

First, it’s important to note that we’ve done Winemaker of the Year contests before, but this is a product-led version that celebrates the unique wines this community makes possible.

With customer support, there’ve been hundreds of “wine moments” that have catapulted the success of deserving winemakers, regions, and varieties worldwide – and this competition was born to celebrate those standouts.

Our inaugural winner of Wine of the Year (in 2022!) was made by none other than Stephen Millier, who took home the win for Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon. This year, he’s passing the torch to a new winner – one of 47 possible nominees.

Narrowing the Wine Competition

Wine of the Year will kick off with 47 total nominees -with up to 10 wines selected per category:

  1. Fine Wine of the Year
  2. Sparkling Wine of the Year
  3. Red Wine of the Year
  4. White Wine of the Year
  5. Rosé of the Year

Here’s a fun stat: we fund over 100 indie winemakers at Naked, and they each offer at least one style (sometimes close to a dozen!). That means Angels make a lot more than 47 winners possible each year.

In 2022, our Angels brought over 470 distinct wine brands to life. That makes the top 10% selection process delicious, but difficult.

So here’s a look at how we did the hard work to whittle down a list of inaugural nominees for the coolest wine competition around.

Selection Criteria

This was a job the data, wine, and marketing teams took very seriously – it involved a lot of reporting, pivot tables, and bar charts. We’ll spare you the tech run down, but share the 5 bits of criteria used to build our 2023 list of nominees:

The Five Rules:

1: Release date. To qualify for a nomination in 2023, Wine of the Year candidates’ wines must have been released and available for sale on between Feb 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023.

2: Customer rating. At the time of selection, the wine needed to have an 87% buy-it-again (BIA) rating or higher. This percentage is determined by Angels who have purchased the vintage and given it their own personal thumbs up.

3: Rating stability. To be eligible, wines in our Rosé, Sparkling, and Fine categories needed to have 50 ratings or more (these wines are naturally limited, so ratings are harder to accumulate!). For White and Red categories, wines needed 175 total ratings or more. This ensures our buy-it-again rating is solid as a selection tool.

4: State availability. Both international and domestically-produced wines were eligible (so a Pacific Northwest Pinot can win just as easily as a Gran Reserva Malbec in Argentina!).

5: Some of our wines come in as special one-off releases; side projects from our indie winemakers that were released as one vintage, and available for sale for a limited time. Those wines were ineligible.

Rule 5: And that leads us to our last rule: Program Continuation. We want Angels to be able to enjoy our Wine of the Year-winning wines for many years to come, so wines that are nominated, in the majority, will be coming back for future vintages.

The Wine of the Year Winner’s Circle

As the competition kicks off this June and culminates on America’s Independence Day (July 4th! A great time to salute our own indie producers) we’ll be asking for Angels’ help to narrow the wine list down further…

…and further…

with two rounds of voting. Vote 1 determines our finalists (The Top 10!) and Vote 2 determines our 5 Category Winners and the official Wine of the Year – the passion project of an indie winemaker that deserves the ultimate prize!

We’re a customer-funded wine company and these winemakers wouldn’t be here without your support.

So it’s only fair that customers get to decide the very best wine made this year – and reflect on dozens of other top-rated styles your support and ratings catapulted into Naked’s 2023 Hall of Fame.

Be sure to vote beginning this June – and check back for our Category Winners and official Wine of the Year decision on July 4th, 2023.

👉You can’t vote just yet! We’ll be announcing our full list of nominees on this year’s Wine of the Year Hub June 3, 2023. Stay tuned!

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